Some words resonate far more than their user intends. “Nevertheless, she persisted,” did that with me. I live on the other side of the world from the US, but I live in a capital city and I’ve seen those attitudes over and over again. I wanted to say “Nevertheless, he persisted” in silencing, but I found myself thinking about just how common that type of silencing is and how many of us have seen those words and heard our own lives being echoed.
My story in Mindy Klasky’s wonderful volume is about those lives. Small lives that have been stepped on and rubbed out and ignored and whose owners nevertheless persist.
It always, always hurts that the owners of the loud voices who try to silence us do it by not hearing why we say things.
They don’t care for who we are. They just want to make us behave in whatever way they’ve decided we should, before they meet us. I don’t know many women who are good at this. I know far more women who are individual and strong and often sarcastic.
My fiction is usually about the lives of women who are individual and strong and often sarcastic. I suspect this is my way of persisting.
My way of annoying those who tell us all to behave, to be silent, to not be ourselves is to let them know what they’re missing. Wildlife that isn’t what you think it will be, roads that misbehave, gates that lead somewhere special. This is my Australia. One day I might write a novel set there, in a special house near a place called Robertson where the wildlife is not what it ought to be. I’ve pictures for that exploration and some very strange stories. My house needs someone to manage it, and “After Eden” is the story of the job interview and how two very individual and often sarcastic women found themselves travelling in strange lands in pursuit of that job.
I can’t give you pictures of my women who persisted, but I’m littering this post with photographs of some of the countryside they drove through as part of their persistence. I went through the first half of it myself, with a group of students to Edrom. From Canberra to Edrom and back, but we failed to see a platypus at Bombala. From Moss Vale to Robertson, I was on a bus to see an opera about mice. After the performance, the singers turned into vampires. The reality of Australia is often as odd as our stories.